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Insights from the Search Insider Summit

After the first day of the Search Insider Summit I had the chance to listen to some forward thinking minds in the world of search and spend some time chatting with many peers about the state of search in the marketing mix and how they see this world evolving.  After this first day of the event, there are a few insights in search that stood out for me as learnings that I will be taking from the conference:

  1. More data is coming soon  – From Google to MSN, everyone was talking about how they would offer ways for advertisers to get their hands on more detailed industry data to help plan and manage search marketing campaigns.  The net effect of this is something that Kevin Lee from Did-it raised in his talk … that lessons learned from search marketing will start to inform the rest of integrated marketing efforts.  Perhaps this will help search to evolve into the ideal testing ground for entire campaigns – where messaging, positioning, the power of a call to action can all be tested online prior to being used in a real campaign. 
  2. Keyword inflation is inevitable – Chris Sherman introduced this idea in his keynote, alluding to the fact that big brands are still only spending a small fraction of their marketing spend on search.  As more brands realize the benefit of search (as they are already doing due to the high degree of measurability) – more money will start to shift into search marketing.  More money means keyword inflation, where words will start "trading" at much higher prices.  This will drive prices up across the industry – making search less of a "steal" than it is now.
  3. SEM goes beyond optimization and keyword ads – An idea that I proposed during my session, which I had the chance to speak with a number of other attendees about was starting to think beyond optimization or keyword marketing.  These are the two tenets of search marketing that most people focus on, however the human influence on search is creating a third area for search marketers to focus on.  Marketing for the human side of search means broader thinking and a more integrated approach with other marketing efforts.  Ultimately, it will be interesting to see if this activity does become part of search marketing, or whether it shifts to becoming part of another marketing discipline.
  4. Local search integrates online and offline – It’s not news that every search engine is focusing heavily on improving their local search capability, but one interesting insight I got from the panel discussions was just how much integration they see it driving with offline activities.  Google, for instance, is looking at ways of integrating with local business backend systems to be able to provide real time stock information in addition to standard text ads.  The power of mashup content on a local level and integrating that with search results can also drive offline activities.

This is just from the first day and unfortunately I had to be on a plane and miss the great discussions scheduled today’s sessions, but I’m looking forward to reading summaries from a few other folks (like David) that I know will be blogging from the event.  Hopefully there are others that post about the events of Friday and Saturday sometime early next week.

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